By Emily Maxson, Aaron McKethan, and Mandy Cohen
The past few weeks have been exciting here at Aledade. We’ve announced our first acquisition, welcomed a new member of our leadership team, and announced a new unit to help us bring targeted care solutions to practices throughout our nationwide network. We are charting new waters while, at the same time, continuing on the path our founders set when they launched Aledade in 2014.
Today, the three of us – Aledade’s Chief Medical Officer, the head of Aledade’s New Ventures team, and the newly-named EVP and CEO of Aledade Care Solutions (ACS) – want to share more details about this new venture (ACS) and why we believe it builds on our commitment to empower primary care.
First, some context: as our CEO described in his recent Twitter thread, Aledade’s business model aligns the health interests of patients with the financial interests of primary care practices and payers. It’s a unique kind of alignment that makes new collaborations possible – collaborations that are all too rare in our health care system. For example, aligning practices and payers means we can bring together data from each to inform clinicians of opportunities that make care better and less costly. This alignment has translated into more primary care, better outcomes, and more savings, which is something you won’t find in the traditional fee-for-service model.
Over the years, we have listened to the more than a thousand primary care practices in Aledade ACOs and analyzed aggregate data from patient encounters. We know there are patients whose care needs are so specific and complex that addressing them would exceed the time and staff bandwidth that a practice can offer in a day. Across our primary care network, many patients could benefit from enhanced primary care services like behavioral health care, health management and coaching, palliative care, social work, medication management support from a pharmacist, and more.
Primary care physicians are the“quarterback” of their patients’ care. And that won’t change even as we make new tools and resources available to care for patients with certain needs. Our first ACS programs will identify and serve those subsets of patients who would most benefit from additional care services provided virtually and integrated into the primary care practice. These solutions bring more capacity to primary care practices, access to additional care options for patients served, and opportunity to drive further shared savings. The initial work of ACS will identify and support specific patients whose care is complex and who would benefit from consultation with a pharmacist to manage complex medication regimens, or a virtual appointment with a social worker or nurse for additional social and care navigation support, or services to document patients’ values and preferences as they face serious illness.
Beyond these initial programs, ACS is poised to grow quickly, and its development will be guided by three key principles:
- Respect and reinforce established, trusted relationships between primary care practices and their patients.
- Strive to integrate virtual care into practices’ workflows, maintaining timely communication among all members of the care team.
- Develop rigorous evidence using clinical data to determine which care solutions are most effective for which patients.
ACS will focus on these three principles in our work with best-in-class solution providers. For example, Iris Healthcare, a mission-driven startup company offering virtual Comprehensive Advance Care Planning services, recently joined ACS through Aledade’s first company acquisition. Iris was founded to help physicians and patients get clarity on their values and care preferences for complex medical conditions and at the end of life, reinforcing the trusted relationship between these clinicians and their patients. The process was virtual, ensuring practices had the information about their patients that they needed to deliver the care that patients preferred. And Aledade’s acquisition of Iris followed a two-year pilot study, in which Aledade harnessed data from its nationwide network of primary care practices to identify which patients could benefit most from a Comprehensive Advance Care Planning service.
We’ll continue to look for similar mission-aligned companies delivering great solutions to patients and practices. We will test how these solutions can deliver even better results when integrated with primary care. ACS will then expand and integrate these programs to achieve greater scale and impact. Aledade’s experience with Iris – initial testing followed by acquisition, integration, and scaling – illustrates a repeatable roadmap for growing ACS in the future.
We are launching ACS to help Aledade serve key patient and population health objectives and strengthen primary care practices in the process. ACS will also support Aledade’s commercial goals. Given the company’s business model and at our current scale, just a single percentage-point increase in the savings rate attained by Aledade ACOs can generate an additional $100 million in incremental revenue – revenue that goes back to practices in those ACOs and that helps Aledade invest in even more care innovations for the future. This is why ACS as our first "new venture" is so compelling. By helping partner practices find new ways to improve the health of their patients, ACS will strengthen and accelerate Aledade’s core business. What’s good for Aledade is good for patients, good for doctors, and good for society. It’s our unique alignment at work.
We’re excited about the impact that ACS can deliver for patients, practices, and communities all across the country. But we know this endeavor won’t be easy. For ACS to pay big dividends, it will take significant investments, major contributions from all across Aledade, and ongoing engagement and partnerships with primary care practices, payers, and patients. We’re confident because Aledade has done big things before. We are up to the challenge again, and we look forward to the journey ahead.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
We provide the following cautionary remarks regarding important factors that, among others, could cause future results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements, expectations and assumptions expressed or implied in this posting. Forward-looking statements are generally identified by the use of such terms as “may,” “could,” “expect,” “intend,” “believe,” “plan,” “estimate,” “forecast,” “project,” “anticipate,” “to be,” “to make” or other comparable terms. All forward-looking statements made by us are subject to risks and uncertainties and are not guarantees of future performance. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance and achievements or industry results to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.